There are so many boycotts, so many that we often forget what we’re even boycotting. But it seems the recent social media campaign to avoid SoulCycle because of its connection with Stephen Ross might have actually made an impact.
For a little recap: Stephen Ross is a billionaire. Of his many holdings, interests, and business endeavors, he is the chairman of The Related Companies, the umbrella company for both SoulCycle and Equinox. Ross is also a longtime friend of Donald Trump — for over four decades.
When news broke that Ross was hosting a big dollar fundraiser for Trump’s re-election bid, the backlash was almost all-encompassing. While calls for a boycott were almost unanimous, Ross still ended up helping to raise $13 million.
According to data published by Earnest Research group, those calls may have actually resulted in less bookings for SoulCycle classes.
According to Vox, attendance was down one percent from the year prior in the week after the news broke. Sure, that honestly doesn’t seem like much, but over the next month, that number continued to decline, increasing to 7.5 percent. We aren’t talking about half the business, but losing almost 10 percent of class bookings in a month is a big deal.
SoulCycle declined to comment on the matter to Vox, but Ernest Research stands behind their numbers, saying that because booking is exclusively managed online, they can accurately analyze the data. What they also found, though, is that the chain’s bookings are concentrated in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, where some of the people more vocally calling for a boycott live.
There’s no word yet on the effectiveness of the Equinox boycott, but some on social media expressed frustration with the difficulty of getting out of the chain’s contracts for its members.